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Chicago is a city rooted in history, yet is quite progressive. This dichotomy is reflected in its museums. From the history-laden Field Museum and Chicago Historical Society to the high-tech Museum of Science and Industry and the Adler Planetarium, there are exhibits to interest everyone. Add to that the colorful Children's Museum, The Shedd Aquarium, and the Art Institute, and it's easy to see why Chicagoans enjoy the city's major museums.

To make visiting some of the museums more convenient, South Lake Shore Drive was recently reconstructed to create a museum campus area. The Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, and The John G. Shedd Aquarium reside on this campus. Many of the museums offer birthday party packages and space for private gatherings, and most sell yearly memberships for individuals and families.

Following is a list of Chicago’s main museums and their major areas of interest:

Field Museum of Natural History 1400 South Lake Shore Drive; (312) 922-9410

From Triceratops to Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Field Museum is the place to bone up on the prehistoric era. Check out the dino digs and walk through the long hallway of dinosaur skeletons. Meet Sue, the latest and greatest dinosaur addition to the Field family. She’s positively huge!

The Field Museum is filled with other historic treasures, also. There are artifacts and clothing from various eras and countries, in addition to historical memorabilia. And, don’t forget to see the mummies—not the kind married to daddies—from ancient Egypt.

Children and their parents can experience a real museum treat when they take part in the Field Museum’s overnighter program. For a fee, they are allowed to roam the museum after dark in their pajamas, with flashlights in hand. After being served a midnight snack, bed is wherever a sleeping bag will fit. In the morning, parents and kids enjoy a filling breakfast and an exchange of conversation about their museum meandering.

Chicago Historical Society 1601 North Clark Street; (312) 642-4600

Chicago has been home to many celebrities and historic figures. For a piece of local lore, check out the Chicago Historical Society. Located right in the historic Gold Coast area of Chicago, this museum provides a unique place to hold a meeting or throw a party.

Museum of Science and Industry 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive; (773) 684-1414

For an incredible science and technology experience, visit the Museum of Science and Industry. From an underground coalmine expedition, to a walk through a World War II submarine, boredom at this establishment simply can’t exist. Step inside a real 747 airplane that is suspended from the museum ceiling, see chicks hatch from eggs, or walk through the chamber of a simulated heart. There’s so much to choose from and a lot to learn here. Add seasonal exhibits and three-dimensional theater, and it’s easy to see why the Museum of Science and Industry is a Chicago favorite.

Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum 1300 South Lake Shore Drive; (312) 922-7827

Study the stars and peruse the planets. They’re all here, in this fascinating planetarium and astronomy museum. Enjoy a multimedia production about space in a theater that has glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling.

Chicago Children’s Museum 700 East Grand Avenue; (312) 527-1000

Located on the newly renovated and activity-packed Navy Pier, the Chicago Children’s Museum is a child’s paradise. All of the exhibits are interactive and challenge a child’s imagination. Kids can “work” in a pint-sized workshop, complete with tools, or they can become a community helper in the scaled-down toy town. The water room offers hours of good, clean fun. Children don rain slickers to keep their clothes dry. Then, they dive right in to water table activities to their hearts’ content.

John G. Shedd Aquarium 1200 South Lake Shore Drive; (312) 939-2438

Under the sea...that’s where you’ll be when you visit the John G. Shedd Aquarium. Frolic with the fish and dance with the dolphins—they’re all here and there’s more. See these sea creatures and learn about their lifestyles.

Art Institute of Chicago 111 South Michigan Avenue; (312) 443-3535

Easily recognized by the two distinctive lion sculptures that greet you at the entrance, the Art Institute is home to numerous works of art. Masters like Renoir, Degas, DaVinci, Monet and Van Gogh grace the hallowed halls of this landmark building. In addition to sketches, drawings, paintings and sculptures, there are the Hawthorne Miniature Rooms. These are shadow box room displays of vintage homes, complete with miniature versions of every accessory.

The Art Institute of Chicago is also home to a renowned school of art.

Come to Chicago, and be sure to visit its many interesting and educational museums.